The Virocyte is a cell with stick-like protrusions. It has the ability to infect other cells that are not protected by a Keratinocyte.
"The Virocyte is a cell infected with a virus. If another cell touches this cell it risks also getting infected unless it is protected by a Keratinocyte. Part of this cell's genome will get copied into the other cell when it gets infrcted. This is very much how a virus works in nature. Which part of the genome gets copied is specified by the "Virus copy from" property in the genome editor. Where it is copied into the victim cell is specified by the "Virus copy to" property. Note that not only the genes from one mode are copied but also the genes for the modes of 2 generations of descendants. So a maximum of 1+2+4 modes of the host genome are copied to the newly infected cell."
It's a high consumption cell with 2 ng/h of Energy Usage Coefficient.
Mode of action
When a Virocyte touches a victim cell, it will try to copy its own modes into the cell's genome.
It is important to note that Virocytes do not infect organisms as a whole; they infect single cells. Thus when a cell in a multicellular organism is infected by a Virocyte, that cell becomes genetically different from the others, even if it remains in its place attached via Adhesin. Of course, if this "hybrid" infected cell is able to split and produce a full organism, then this child organism's cells will be genetically uniform, and permanently altered by the Virocyte.
A Virocyte has two fundamental properties:
- The "Virus copy from" property indicates the "starting point" mode from the Virocyte organism's genome to be copied to the victim's genome.
- The "Virus copy to" property indicates the victim's genome mode that will be overwritten.
Although it is possible to input two different modes on these settings, it is highly recommended that "copy from" and "copy to" point to the same mode number. Using different mode numbers is not generally required to complete challenges, and it often yields complex results; as an example, the Copying cascade explained below is shifted relatively to the initial mode's position. For the moment, copying with different modes will remain outside the scope of this description.
When the Virocyte infects a victim cell, it will copy its genome's "Virus copy from" mode to the "Virus copy to" mode of the victim. This is the starting point of a copying cascade that extends to two cell divisions, with the potential to alter 1+2+4=7 total modes.
As an example:
- If the "Virus copy from" and "Virus copy to" are set to M1, then the Virocyte's M1 will be copied to the victim's M1.
- If the Virocyte's M1 mode splits to M2 and M3, then the Virocyte's M2 and M3 will also be copied to the victim's M2 and M3.
- Lastly, both children of M2 (e.g. M4 and M5) and M3 (e.g. M6 and M7) will also be copied to the victim cell's genome.
Thus the Virocyte will have transmitted its M1-M7 modes to the victim. The Virocyte mode itself doesn't need to be within this group; e.g. the infective Virocyte mode could be set in M8, with Virus Copy settings "from" M1 "to" M1.
Of course, it is possible to limit the transfer to a lower number of modes, by choosing a mode's children. In the above example, if M1 splits to M2 and M3, M2 splits to M2 and M2, and M3 splits to M3 and M1, then only M1, M2 and M3 will be part of the cascade.
Also, please note that it is irrelevant whether or not the parent mode would actually ever split in a substrate environment; its children modes will still be transferred to the victim's genome. E.g. in the example above, let's assume that M2 is a flagellocyte with a Split Mass set to maximum, that will never actually split; even so, if M4 and M5 need to be passed, they can simply be listed as M2's children, and this is enough for them to be copied.
When the main objective of an infection is to subtly alter the victim's genome, it might be a good idea to follow these steps:
- Within the Genome tab, Load the victim's genome from the plate. Now that you have a copy of the victim's genome, study which mode (or modes) need to be altered.
- Verify which mode can be the first one of the copying cascade, and whether all desired modes are linked by the cascade. If not, and if there's any mode that does not need to reproduce, try to include the missing modes as childrens there.
- Create a Virocyte mode; in the "Virus copy from" and "Virus copy to" settings, indicate the mode you chose as the first one in the cascade.
- If you want to start the challenge by adding a Virocyte, then set the Virocyte mode as Initial. Otherwise, if you prefer building a whole organism that produces Virocytes, then use the "empty" modes to build your organism and set the Initial mode appropriately.
- The Virocyte is, indisputably, the hardest cell to understand.
- The Virocyte has the second highest energy usage of them all, following the Photocyte
- No other cell shares this specific energy usage.